Easy Ways to Detect Air Leaks in Your North America Home

A leaky house is considerably less energy efficient than a tightly sealed one. Knowing how to detect air leaks in your house, sealing those leaks and scheduling a home energy assessment when warranted can help you maintain a cozy living environment and decrease your energy bills.

Detecting Air Leaks from Inside Your Home

Initiate your air leak inspection on the interior. Here are four reliable methods for finding air leaks in your house:

  • Conduct|Perform|Carry out]13] a comprehensive visual inspection, looking for gaps and cracks on or near windows, doors, electrical outlets and baseboards. Pay special attention to the corners of rooms, because gaps can commonly be found there.
  • Place your hand close to potentially leaky locations on a cold or windy day. If you feel a draft, you’ve found an air leak.
  • Complete a smoke test by lighting an incense stick or smoke pen. Then, slowly move it all around the edges of windows, doors and other potential trouble spots. If an air leak is present, the smoke will blow around or get sucked toward the gap, revealing the leak’s location. The smoke test is more effective when performed on a windy day.
  • Utilize an infrared thermometer or thermal camera to identify temperature differences in your home. These tools help you detect areas with significant temperature variations, which often indicate air leaks.

Detecting Air Leaks from Outside Your Home

Studying the exterior structure can also expose potential leaks. Here are two methods for finding air leaks from the outside:

  • Perform a visual examination, paying close attention to corners and locations where different materials meet. Hunt for gaps or cracks that could create air leaks, as well as worn caulk or weatherstripping and poorly sealed vents and exhaust fans.
  • Do the garden hose test on a chilly day. This is where someone sprays water from a garden hose onto the exterior while another person stands inside near a suspected air leak. If there’s a leak, the person inside really should feel cold air or moisture entering through the gap.

Sealing Air Leaks

After identifying major air leaks, it’s time to address the issue. Here are the most effective strategies for sealing air leaks in your home:

  • Use caulk to seal small gaps and cracks around windows, doors and other areas where air is leaking out. Select a quality, long-lasting caulk created for indoor or outdoor use and the specific materials you are trying to seal to ensure a durable seal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and curing time.
  • Apply weatherstripping to doors and windows to help them close tightly. Different kinds of weatherstripping are available, such as adhesive-backed foam tape, V-strip and door sweeps. Select the ideal style for your needs and follow the installation instructions.
  • Use expanding foam to fill and seal bigger gaps and holes. Expanding foam is sold in a can with a spray applicator for simple application in hard-to-reach areas. Wear protective gloves and stick to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe use.
  • Add insulation to newly sealed walls and attic floors to further cut down on heat transfer. Whether or not you already have some insulation, consider upgrading to a higher R-value or adding more insulation where it’s currently lacking.
  • Add door sweeps along the bottom of exterior doors to stop drafts. Door sweeps are made in various materials and styles to fit your desires and aesthetic preferences.

Considering a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

A home energy assessment is valuable for spotting concealed air leaks and locating areas of improvement. A professional energy auditor does this inspection, which consists of the following:

  • A blower door test entails installing a temporary door with a sturdy fan over an exterior door opening. The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the inside air pressure and drawing in outside air through unsealed openings. This test measures your home’s air tightness and makes thermal camera images easier to read.
  • Infrared imaging helps the energy auditor detect temperature discrepancies in the walls, floors and ceilings, revealing hidden air leaks and insulation deficiencies.
  • A combustion safety test makes sure your home heating system, water heater and other combustion appliances are operating safely and effectively, reducing the risk of potentially dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.
  • A homeowner interview is when the energy auditor discusses your energy usage habits, home maintenance history and comfort obstacles to spot additional energy-saving options.

Schedule a Comprehensive Home Energy Assessment

While doing your own air leak tests is an excellent launching point, partnering with a professional is far more thorough. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you improve your home’s air tightness with a detailed home energy assessment and customized solutions to boost performance and comfort.


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